Lamu Island is one of the oldest and best-preserved Swahili settlements in East Africa and one of the most unique places on earth. Very little has changed in centuries. A port was founded on the island of Lamu by Arab traders at least as early as the fourteenth century. The Swahili culture and style of Lamu are a mix of East African, Omani, Yemeni, Indian and some Portuguese influences. There are no roads on the island and only a few motorized vehicles. Residents move about on foot or by boat or sailing dhow, and donkeys are used to transport goods and materials. Among just alleyways and footpaths, you will come across a hidden jewel of a shop - Aman in Shela Village.
From the Cape in South Africa via the Zambian wilderness, the owner, Sandy Bornman, has lived on the island for the past 16 years and says the dress code is as effortless as possible on the island. Her inspiration comes from Swahili henna designs, the patterns on carved wooden doors and the intricate Lamu plasterwork designs for the cotton and silk kaftans. The Aman collection is chic and effortless so one can wear it with ease.
During your visit to the island, Sandy suggests to take a snorkeling trip, sunset dhow sailing, a visit to the Lamu Museum, sunset drinks at the iconic family owned Peponi Hotel, a Swahili dinner on the rooftop of Baitil Aman (an 18th Century residence turned guest house), a thin crust pizza on the beach at Diamond Beach and you may be fortunate to experience a turtle hatching or a swim with dolphins. If time permits and you are feeling adventurous take a journey by boat to Mike’s Camp on Kiwayu Island, it’s as close to paradise as you can come with a remote and endless beach, and only the ocean in front of you.
Find out more about Lamu Island here.